DOVER – All season long, Western Boone head coach Josh Burkett has preached to his team about how their defense was going to lead to their offense.
In Friday night’s sectional semifinal, the Stars proved their coach right. Western Boone held Clinton Prairie to 16 points in the second half, including 10 for the first 14 minutes of the half, and advanced to the sectional title game with a 48-37 victory.
“It’s tournament time, and our boys love tournament time,” Burkett said. “They just knuckled down and guarded. They were stuck on 31 points for what seemed like forever and didn’t get much after that. We guarded all their sets really, really well, and just did a really good job.”
Since then, they have appeared in the sectional title game five times, but haven’t been able to cut down the nets at the end of the game.
Burkett said this senior class in particular wants to be the group to end that streak.
“They have been locked in,” Burkett said. “They don’t want to lose. They know how to win in tournaments. They obviously won a lot in football, and it is a little different in basketball, but they proved they can grind it out. We aren’t done, and they know it. We have a really good Rossville team that beat us earlier in the year, that we have to find a way to beat tomorrow.”
The two teams played in the regular-season finale, with Clinton Prairie winning 59-43.
That meeting was tied at 21 at the half, and Friday night played out similarly, with the Gophers leading 21-19 after closing the half on a 7-0 run.
But unlike last week, when the Gophers dominated the second half, it was the Stars that made the adjustments they needed to in order to win.